Syd WachsFriday Favorites is a prompt created by Kibby at Something of the Book and it’s a brand new blog hop. Come and join us!

Today’s favorites: Old School YA books (YA release before 2000)

*rubs hands together* Alright, bookworms. Let’s get this party started. Surprising absolutely no one, Tamora Pierce is about to feature heavily in my list. She may, in fact, be the entire thing. We’ll see. Since I turned 13 in 2000 and I was an actual young adult in this period, it’s exactly my niche for YA.

1. The Circle of Magic by Tamora Pierce

circle of magic

There’s mayhem and misfits finding their niche and real, honest-to-god supportive adults (IN A YA, I KNOW!) and deadly conflicts and beautiful insults. Honestly so much of my world-view was informed by this series, which I started reading at about the same age as the characters. My deep, deep love for underdogs, my need to be an ally, and championing justice were ignited by Ms. Pierce. (For the record Tris is my favorite and I related to her the most. I still ship her and Briar, so judge me.)

Treat yourself, go watch Mark Oshiro read the entire quartet. I just want to give him the biggest hug for being so wonderful. And watching him react to all the terrible tricks Pierce pulls is the best. The. Best. Here is one of my favorite bits when Sandry destroys him.

2. Alanna The Lioness Series by Tamora Pierce

lionessrampantcover600w__spanANOTHER Pierce series, I did try to warn you. Alanna is what I needed as a tween. She gets to be kickass and take down bullies. Fighting for her abilities to exist outside of her gender constraints is the plot of the whole damn series. She explicitly examines her sexuality, her identity, she even DEALS WITH HER PERIOD OKAY YOU DON’T JUST STOP AUNT FLO FOREVER BECAUSE YOU’RE IN A FANTASY NOVEL is this real life or just some beautiful dream? Holy Jumping Gerbils YA people it really is okay for girls in a magical world to experience developmentally appropriate growth. Also diversity is a thing. Just, every young adult author read some Tamora Pierce and take notes.

Mark also reads Alanna’s series. GO WATCH HIM. And then support him on his author journey.

3. Ella Enchanted  by Gail Carson Levine

ella enchantedI’m sensing a theme here and it’s feisty characters. Young me had NO IDEA how much she was benefiting from these fantastic authors who wrote characters that I could only grow stronger through emulating. Ella is snarky and smart and speaks multiple languages and wins the day by being strong willed. All good things. I still want to grow up to be Ella. She reaches her happy ending by being stubborn, guys. Stubborn. If that ain’t me.

Guess what? Mark has also read this one. His commentary is always a joy. He is a GIFT TO US which we do not deserve, okay. His debut YA novel Anger is a Gift is totally available.


4. Anything by Eva Ibbotson, but especially Dial-A-Ghost

dial a ghost

Years before JK Rowling entered the scene Ibbotson was writing wacky plots where magical things like ghosts and witches are real, and ridiculously British. These might be more MG reads but you know what I don’t care they’re on this list now and I shan’t take them off. Ibbotson has this gift for writing about awful realities like abandonment, fear, loneliness, ostracism, rejection . . . and juxtaposing them with love, kindness, warmth, acceptance, and humor. I’ll let you guess which characters demonstrate the love (HINT HINT IT AIN’T THE HUMANS). Her plots are surprisingly murdery? Considering she was writing for children?

Sadly Mark has not been commissioned to read any Ibbotson but since he’s spent the time reading Discworld novels I am actually just fine with this.